Years ago at a leadership conference, I heard John Maxwell share about a conference he led for Sr Adults (those who were approx 55 and up). In the conference he asked the question: ‘Why retire when you can re-enlist?”
This morning I was thinking on this question as I read through Titus 2.
I’m convinced we need to do a better job of finding ways to encourage and/or enable older men & women to mentor younger men & women in our churches & communities.
Paul was clear in Titus 2 and other passages that older women & older men have a responsibility to train & encourage younger men & women in the church.
Older men & women who have continued to walk with God have a unique ability to impart wisdom. They’ve already raised their children & are admonished by Paul to have normal, ongoing conversations in every day life in order to promote sound thinking & living among the younger men & women in the church. These type conversations require relationship.
As one of those “older adults” I realize as we get older, it’s easier to resist change & to “retire” into comfortable routines & relationships. However, when we opt for this, life can become less fulfilling and satisfying. It’s easy to become a creature of habit and miss the chance of helping those who are younger than us.
Godly men & women who are “older” have a different perspective because they’ve usually walked with God through more painful & difficult experiences that refine their faith. In the context of relationship with younger men & women they have a unique opportunity to impart wisdom when those younger adults face the good, bad & ugly of life.
American culture has promoted the whole idea of “retirement”, but you won’t find any example of it when it comes to the church. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t retire from your job, but we’re never to retire from ministry.
Mrs Rosie Vaught who passed away just 33 days short of her 100th birthday, was a prime example of this. Mrs. Rosie was active in our church family right up until the time of her death. She prayed faithfully, and she served in other ways until her health no longer allowed it. Mrs. Rosie was one of those “older” adults who was a mentor to hundreds of younger people and never considered “retiring” from serving God.
My wife, Janet, retired from teaching this year, but isn’t “retiring” from ministry. She talked with me a couple weeks ago about some ideas she’s entertaining that relate to her own ministry in our church and community that aren’t part of any program or ministry we have at our church at this time. Even if your church doesn’t have some organized way to enable you to minister to those younger than you, it doesn’t mean you & I are free from the responsibility.
Currently, our best way of enabling this process at Grace Fellowship is through one of our many Life Groups. Whether it’s a Men’s Group, a Women’s Group, Starting Point, Choices, a Single’s Group, a Mixed Group or a Couples Group – there’s an opportunity for you to develop relationships that last and allow you the privilege of mentoring someone. So, if you’re one of those “older men & women” like me – I hope you’ll consider the question: “Why retire when you can re-enlist?”